Open Thread

Obama in Berlin, Paris and London

Obama heads into Berlin Germany leaving behind the what is being described as a successful series of days covering Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, and Israel. Up next is Berlin on the 24, followed by Paris on the 25, and the wrap-up destination London on Saturday 26 July.

Looking back the first news breaking the US media was Obama’s visit to a US military base in Kuwait City and a basketball moment you could only wish for. That shot set the tone for the next couple of days as Obama headed over to Afghanistan for meetings Hamid Karzai. Meanwhile news was filtering out that President Bush was accepts concept of an Iraq Time Horizon but that what somewhat eclipsed by an article in the German press suggesting the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had expressed support for Obama’s take on US troop withdrawal policy.

Obama’s next stop was Iraq just as Gordon Brown announced details of planned troop withdrawals. As Obama gets into the process of reviewing conditions on the ground, the Whitehouse wades in discounting the Iraq troop withdrawl endorsement and gets itself into a muddle as the New York Times confirms the story and associated translation. Obama takes in a number of military based, talks with the Prime Minister and members of the Iraqi Cabinet and Sunni tribal elders in Ramadi (capital of Anbar Province) before leaving for Jordan.

Obama next stop was Jordan and a meeting with King Abdullah, a press conference, and dinner with the King and Queen Rania, before he was driven back to the airport by King Abdullah himself. At the airport the King and Obama paused for a number of photo-ops, after which Obama climbed on board the new campaign Boeing 757 – destination Israel and the Palestinian State for meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem and President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

213 replies on “Obama in Berlin, Paris and London”

jen at 1

I got a message from KR but that’s was more along the lines of a heads up thingy. Anyway, I’ll catchup with KR and find up where his stuff is and I’ll put it up for the next thread. In the meantime I’ll keep this one running until the European gig is over.

Please note I am panther45 formerly known as Chris b. Catrina I am not sure, but maybe I wasn’t registered properly before. I think my username was taken by someone else. Hence my confusion.

Hi Catrina,

Is my name supposed to appear up there under “Authors”?

I have access to the contributor pages, and it looks like I can submit my own post, so I will when this one runs it’s course.

I can wait another day or so!

KR at 9

Go ahead and write the page and save it. You will not appear until it is published and thats something only editors can do (me, EC, or megan). Once you are published your name will appear in lights and you will be forever famous.

Thanks Megan, it went into moderation. It’s a bit difficult to work out how it goes.


Trying to do ChrisB/Panther45 a favour by testing his site.

Please delete…..thought I had!

Not a good look for the Republicans this week, was it?

McCain fumbles his geography and Bush attempts to muzzle al Maliki.

Talk about inept.

Meanwhile, Obama has the world’s attention and is deftly exploiting it glad handling world leaders.

Bush on the other hand, gets more protesters when he travels! LOL

Just a note concerning the speech in Berlin later tonight. The speech is scheduled to start at 7.00PM their time. for the rest of us that’s something like:

East Coast: 3.00 AM
Adelaide: 2:30 AM
Perth: 1.00 AM

Back again as Chris B, having trouble with the Ozee site. But have contacted support. I hope to have it up in the next couple of days.

Steve Lombardo, a Republican pollster, wrote a column on Obama’s overseas trip at In short, he says the trip was a brilliant idea. According to Lombardo, elections are about impressions, not about policy papers. The more-or-less continuous news coverage showing Barack Obama meeting with world leaders, talking to the troops in Iraq, and today giving a speech in Berlin to a crowd expected to number a million people makes him look “presidential.” Lombardo agrees with many other political experts that this is Obama’s election to lose. If he can convince enough people that he is “presidential” enough (whatever that means), he wins.

A comment about polls from the Votemaster. This may aply to Ohio. Minnesota in the senate or New Hampshire.

Since there are well over 20 polls a week, one or two of these outliers are going to show up every week. It’s normal (sorry statisticians).

28 Catrina

Self-exploding eggshells at that!

(Humpty Dumpty was a terrorist who tried to blow up the wall…or was that rightwing propaganda?)

Meanwhile, back home, the Latinos are dirty dancing with Obama:

Jul 24th, 2008 | WASHINGTON — Democrat Barack Obama has opened a big lead among Hispanic voters, winning support from the vast majority of those who had voted for rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries, according to a poll released Thursday.

The national survey, conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center, showed that 66 percent of Hispanic registered voters supported Obama, compared to 23 percent for Republican John McCain. The other 11 percent were undecided.


…it’s not John’s week really.

And so funny to see a headline in Marketwatch (a bastion of capitalism and not usually friendly to Democrats):

“Stop your whining” under a picture of McCain! They think his being miffed about the media’s circus around Obama is just more whining…and there’s more:—-obama/story.aspx?guid=%7BBD4EF401%2D4536%2D47DD%2DB9D7%2DBFB329A092F8%7D

…like I said, not a good week for the Arizona moaner.

And there goes another myth that helps prop up the fear of ending their Iraq occupation, from Ryan Crocker no less:

Jul 24th, 2008 | BAGHDAD — Iraqis, having lived through years of sectarian warfare, are unlikely to revert to mass violence as they sort out their future, the top U.S. diplomat to Baghdad told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Ryan Crocker, a veteran Middle East diplomat who intends to finish his tour in the Iraqi capital in January, said it may take decades for the country to settle its many political, economic and social problems.

And while he would not rule out a return to widespread sectarian violence — which has virtually ceased in recent months — Crocker said the main indicators of change in Iraq point toward an eventual reconciliation.

He cited a “powerful force” of popular sentiment in Iraq that has underpinned the decline in violence.


…it really IS NOT John’s week, is it?

NYT just up with a piece about gushing Germans…

The Die Zeit Web site is live blogging the visit every few minutes, and even has this dialogue between Senator Obama and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier:

DPA (the German news agency) reports that Steinmeier greeted Obama with the words: ‘How’s it going?’ The daily Suddeutsche goes further, reporting that Obama then replied, ‘Hello.’

Die Zeit remarks with some surprise that Americans seem to be paying less attention to the visit than Germans are.

In the meantime, CNN have Christiane Amanpour describes the scene in Berlin, where Barack Obama will speak later today.

Obama Berlin speech preview 1:58

Here is a link to a live stream of Obama’s speech in Berlin. Don’t worry – nothing happening yet. If you find a better stream please post a comment.

Other links I’m aware of (but have not checked) include:

In the meantime CNN have published the text of the speech.


I think you will like the speech. He’s just wrapped up and is stepping off stage. I’m pleased to say that he did us proud. The German Police estimates the crowd was something in the order of 215,000 people.

People of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment.
This is our time.

For the full speech (25 min.):

As to the reaction of in the States …

In the meantime an interview with Obama earlier today before the Berlin speech with Brian Williams and the topics are largely focussed on Iraq policy is worth review.

As for me – on Sunday I’ll be visiting my Dad and instead of talking about the end of the cold war or the day that man landed on the moon, or the Kennedy assassination, I’ll be talking about the day the Obama spoke to the world from Berlin.

23 KR

There would be two very distinct headlines wouldn,t there;

1/. 215000 happy peaceful germans turn out for the Obamaoratory. Police sat quietly under the trees sucking on their Saurkraut, no arrests were made.

2/. The same 215000 protesters turned out today to heckle George Bush as he tried to address them. The scene turned ugly when saurkraut covered police waded in with Batons to try to subdue crowd. Only two thousad arrests were made, ranging from assault to unruly behaviour.

37 Gaffhook

i don’t think the reception of Obama will go unnoticed by the Republicans.

As Joan Walsh puts it, so nicely, in Salon:

It’s true that most of Obama’s victories on this trip fall into the realm of symbolism and pageantry, but after spending my entire adulthood watching Democrats get trounced with symbolism and pageantry, I’m enjoying it.

…and so are we all Joan!

Who else heard the rather anti-Obama piece on ABC radio this morning(the AM program)? I swear their U.S correspondent is a McCain supporter.

Democrats persist in thinking they can score on the GOP’s home turf — as evidenced, this time around, by Barack Obama’s decision to spend roughly $8 million — and that’s just his initial outlay — to sell himself in TV ads in four Southern states. Last weekend, Obama opened 20 campaign offices in Virginia, a state that hasn’t voted Democratic since 1964. Either he’s smart to make these moves, which are designed to expand the battlefield, or he’s merely the latest Democrat to play Captain Ahab in a futile pursuit of the party’s great white whale.

A majority of Americans believe that Democratic candidate Barack Obama will win the presidential election against Republican hopeful John McCain in November, a Fox News poll showed Thursday.

While 51 percent say Obama, who is vying to become the first African American president, will win the election, only 27 percent are betting on a McCain victory.

Voters registered as Democrats are more confident about their candidate’s chances than their Republican peers: 71 percent of Democrats see Obama winning on November 4 while 51 percent of Republicans believe McCain will win.

45 Jovial Monk It’s the images that count, no matter what the evidence some people will never be convinced. Some people still think Jeff Kennett was good, blanch, cough, cough, choke, gasp.

This gives us at least some sense of the advertising that is going on in the US election.

Voters who didn’t see many Senate commercials in years past will see a lot more of them. In media markets that stretch over state lines, millions will have to sit through ads for candidates they don’t care about. Don’t be surprised if Bostonians get so tired of seeing Ms. Shaheen and Mr. Sununu that they start throwing slippers at their TV sets.

A very strong showing by Senate Democrats this November would bring the party at or very close to a 60-seat majority that could theoretically break a Republican filibuster keeping a bill from being considered or passed. With Democrats currently in operational control of 51 seats, a filibuster-proof majority would require Democrats to make a net gain of nine Senate seats — something that no party has accomplished since 1980. Schumer said a 60-Democrat Senate in 2009 was “very unlikely” but not out of the question.

No party has ever had the planets line up like the Democrats have in this election.

Jovial Monk-
the guy can’t win with some people can he?!
He is not in a position to outline policy details before he has even been officially nominated, nor is a rally the place to do it.
He may not deliver on what he is promising, but at least he is stating an intention to try and bring a different approach to some pretty dire situations.
Whether he succeeds or not is unknowable at this stage.

45 Jovial Monk Can you imagine people sitting down watching policy speeches? NOT! They would change channels in a flash, or turn off their televisions.

sorry- meant to post this quote
“Case for prosecution: As secretary of defense, Rumsfeld was ultimately responsible for the change in interrogation policy at Guantanamo and for its migration to Iraq and elsewhere. Hundreds of prisoners have been tortured and as many as 100 have died while in U.S. custody “

Hi Progressive- wonder if the polls will stay as tight once Obi’s camp start throwing some of those advertising $$’s around.
-mind you the money spent on this campaign is outrageous… lots of health care, housing etc. being thrown down the television tube!
Good old USofA.

In truth, the polls are probably meaningless until both parties have held their conventions.
However, I’d rather be in Obama’s shoes right now.
Sure, it’s close, but McCain can’t break the 45% ceiling.

So this is where y’all hiding out now? Must say, this is a great blog. It actually has content rather than endless gutter-sniping – I certainly won’t be missing GG, Ron, and Finns! I can’t understand why William didn’t counsel them or remove them… oh well, his loss.

Anyway, just watched Obama’s Berlin speech. Great stuff. I sometimes wonder whether the world wants Obama as president more than the U.S. does. I think the rest of us see the potential for a global turning point with an Obama presidency more than Americans do, but I’m also not surprised by this because the American MSM is mostly a propaganda tool. Americans haven’t even seen the true state of the damage done by the Iraq War because it is barely documented in American media. The poor suckers are riding blind.

I have flicked onto Fox News occasionally (always for a laugh), and the anchors have been working overtime to condition their audience into believing that any positive news about Obama is a result of media bias from the other networks. It’s a clever trick. It not only allows people to explain away the positives for Obama, it gives them permission to excuse McCain for his gaffes and other negatives, again with the line about media bias. On top of this, it also enables Fox News to trumpet its self-declared “fair and balanced” motto as compared to those other biased networks, lulling the audience into trusting Fox!

Gotta hand it to them for trying. Maybe it might have worked in the old days when we didn’t have the Internet. But the propaganda is all so transparent now…

#57 Progressive

It’s not such a bad thing if the polls are tight right now. A blowout for Obama would only lull some of his supporters into complacency.

What counts most is the perception of winning. A few posts back, Chris B pulled up the best piece of polling for Obama:

“While 51 percent say Obama, who is vying to become the first African American president, will win the election, only 27 percent are betting on a McCain victory.”

When it comes to judgement day, Americans love to back a winner.

This is a very good idea, I wonder how long before the Democrats have a version up and running. They will have Silicon Valley working on it day and night. This would bring in millions more for the Democrats. If they do it too fast it will have bugs in it. Slow and easy.

The GOP Toolbar allows you to stay connected to the GOP and raise valuable contributions, without spending a dime! As you use the toolbar, you will raise funds that go directly to the GOP. You will be able to track your donations in real time, and watch as your donations grow! From the toolbar you will receive updated messages directly from the GOP, keeping you up to date with breaking GOP news.

62 Enemy Combatant

Poor old Macca, he’s getting some attention deficit disorder, ain’t he?

Hey Noocat – welcome aboard!!Do you know about the US Bludgers convention in Brisbane to watch the election ?. Nov 5. So far I think there’s about 8 definites .
Enemy Combatant is doing the organising at the moment so let us know if you’re interested. In the meantime, enjoy the civility.

Pick a number between one and two, call it trillions of US dollars, and that’s what the expected losses are on US mortgages from this subprime debacle.

That’s a serious number, and it’s having serious consequence. (Just notice today how NAB dropped a bundle of provisions for losses on US mortgages…ouch! Those CDO’s, eh? What a great ‘investment’ they turned out to be!)

Of course US banks are up against it, massive losses and book write downs, and now they’ve got to sell hard assets just to raise some capital.

It’s looking ugly as home sales stall even harder and prices are falling with no buyers wanting to touch them.

Ladies and gentleman, this is getting serious, and we are a long way from the centre of the action. But it will come our way, you can bank on it.

Hey KR, hope your feeling OK.

What’s your opinion on the form the splash damage will take over here? I’m moderately confident I’m ready to ride things out but if you have any suggestions I’d be glad to hear them.

Hi Jen — yes, I saw a reference to a Brisvegas convention somewhere on this blog. Sounds tempting but I plan to be away during that time, maybe in the U.S. itself. A friend of mine is flying over there to rattle the can for Obama during the official campaign period and will be staying on for the election result…

66 dogb

Not too bad this week thanks dogb.

Well it’s almost certain we’re going to import some pain in the mortgage market, as banks find the cost of capital rising (and if the Reserve is forced to chase the dragon ie inflation). There’s always the comforting thought that a global recession will kill inflation, but that won’t be a great outcome either.

Both ways will lead to the inevitable: house prices must fall to some sensible level compared to incomes.

Those who think that all fiat currencies are in for a thrashing suggest that gold (and silver) will do very well, and I can’t say I disagree. But like all things, diversify, and the other realm of tangibles is collectibles, things which will hold value when money doesn’t.

It’s a dangerous time, and it’s got a long way to play out.

I was reading about the Ford losses the other day…whoa, a cool $8b in the last quarter, and their plans to drop most of the trucks they call cars over there, and start making more small cars.

And then I had this image of BIG Americans in very small cars! There’s clearly a problem with this picture, isn’t there?

Americans will have to downsize themselves to fit into the size of cars they will be able to afford to drive.

Time to go short the junk food industry in the USA folks!

And all that corn syrup they don’t eat? Well, they can turn it into ethanol and run their little cars with it.

The land of the BIG is about to get super-sized down!

Thanks KR

That’s about what I thought. I figure the only thing I’m going to take a real bath on is the house I live in, and I’m not prepared to give that up due to convenience and the volatility of the rental market at the moment.

Scary time. I’d hide my money under the bed if I wasn’t so frightened of inflation finding it there. 🙂

In an interview with The Denver Post, the deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand indicated that the price of admission to the speech would be a pledge to volunteer and recruit new voters on behalf of Mr. Obama.

“We’re going to ask those 80,000 people in that stadium to march out of there and go with very specific instructions and goals to register millions of new voters,” Mr. Hildebrand told the newspaper.

Registration required for the New York Times political section.

Republican National Committee ran anti-Obama advertisements in Berlin, N.H.; Berlin, Wis.; and Berlin, Pa.

In the sea of uncertainty that defines American politics, presidential candidates have generally been able to count on the residents of their home state, Al Gore’s loss of Tennessee in 2000 being a notable exception.

But a variety of factors have made Mr. McCain’s chances in Arizona less assured than they ordinarily would seem, which his campaign has acknowledged.

The number of independent voters in Arizona has risen 12 percent since 2004, and those voters have helped send a Democrat to the governor’s mansion and given the party four of the state’s eight Congressional seats — including two in 2006, one in a historically Republican district.

Registration required for the New York Times political section.

Even in McCains home state of Arizona, the signs are ominous.

“I represent a large group of Republicans in this state who feel disenfranchised,” Mr. Townsend said, citing the war, the economy and Mr. McCain’s occasional forays into socially conservative territory as reasons for his disenchantment.

“I’ve never voted, and I never cared to vote,” said Sandy Simmons, 28. “But this is such an exciting time in our history.” She said she planned to vote for Mr. Obama.

The evidence is overwhelming for Obama, ignore it at your peril.

Registration required for the New York Times political section.

In June 2008, Democrat Barack Obama raised more money than Republican John McCain in McCain’s home state of Arizona.

Obama raised $432,000 compared to McCain’s take of $313,000, reports the Arizona Republic.

Over the last year, McCain has raised twice as much as Obama in Arizona, with a total of $4.7 million. But since the beginning of 2008, McCain has raised only $2 million in his home state, just $66,000 more than the Obama campaign.

If McCain couldn’t even carry his home state, that’d be amazing! Will Obama spend money in Arizona?

I wonder what the story is about the polls going the other way? I suppose we’ll never find out.

Obama Team Begins Work On Presidential Transition

With less than six months to go before he would be sworn in as the nation’s 44th president, Sen. Barack Obama has directed his aides to begin planning for the transition.

Barack is well aware of the complexity and the organizational challenge involved in the transition process and he has tasked s small group to begin thinking through the process,” a senior campaign adviser said. “Barack has made his expectations clear about what he wants from such a process, how he wants it to move forward, and the establishment and execution of his timeline is proceeding apace.

NAB’s exposure to Collaterised Debt Obligations may not be as bad a the exposure from local councils. Most have not owned up to owning them but they will have to be put on the books as a loss sooner or later. It will not be much fun seeing rates soar as this debacle spreads.
In the US it is even worse for the states, their revenue from real estate and retail sales tax collapsing just as the population is getting older and needing more state assistance.
As KR says we have only just begun.

MILAN (AP) — A Dutch woman watched her husband and three children fall to their deaths on Thursday while they were climbing near Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak, Italian rescuers said.

The woman’s husband, 56, and the couple’s son and two daughters were roped together and plunged 1,600 feet down a slope of rock, ice and snow as the woman watched from below, said Oscar Tajola, who is in charge of the mountain rescue corps in the nearby town of Courmayeur.

It’s a pity Germans can’t vote, Obama looked very presidential in Berlin.

Looking at Obama making that speech in Berlin, he must have been moved and a little unnerved by the huge numbers who came to hear him speak. He talked in global terms,a great way to unite people.

Have been a little annoyed at the msm’s reporting,especially the ABC,which seems to be still in Flib’s thrall.

(And is it true that JWH has an office in the same building as Nelson? Has he appointed himself to a ‘Cheney-like behind-the-scenes ‘ role? )

Like The Rat found out you should always check the background for a good photogenic backdrop.
Sometimes they do not really work.

Hillbilly asking why she is not pulling the votes in the primaries, she looks like she is saying what’s wrong with me.

Why she is not still your hero Chris B and DG


Thanks for your excellent updates during the wee hours,Cat.

Was nice to wake up to such good news this morning…..not

wanting to count my chickens and all.

hi catrina, i appreciate that we are not allowed to discuss the problems at the other place, but could you please explain this comment on the pollbludger Morgan 55/45 thread:

Edward StJohn Says:
July 25th, 2008 at 6:06 pm
Thanks Catrina,

Always found Andrew annoying.

Megan: The ABC is so pro McCain, it’s blatantly obvious!
I noticed Kim Landers getting in her little dig at the end of the report about McFake supposedly surging in the polls.
Aunty doesn’t like Obama!

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